Swimming with Hero by Dr. Christopher Stockdale
Swimming with Hero is a book written by Dr. Robert Christopher Stockdale, the long-time physician to the Channel Swimming Association who swam the English Channel three times: from England to France in 17 hours 30 minutes in 1977 and 15 hours 56 minutes in 1981, and from France to England in 14 hours 50 minutes in 1984.
Dr. Stockdale was recognized with an MBE for his long-term services to charitable causes. Dr. Stockdale has raised £300,000 for charity over 33 years, largely through marathon swims including the English Channel and one 31-hour swim across Lake Garda as a member of the 24-Hour Club.
In addition to being awarded the Channel Swimming Association’s Van Audenaerde Special Award when his escort boat sank after he finished the Channel, he completed swims in Lake Bala, Windermere, from Capri to Napoli, Coniston, Ullswater, from Walton to Clacton, Lake Como,Ischia,Torbay, across the Gulf of Naples from Ischia to Castellammare, in the Cyclades from Paros to Antiparos, around Manhattan Island, from Torregaveta to Baia – Bacoli, Lago Di Mergozzo, Lake Garda, from Anadolukavagi to Buyukada in Turkey, from Anadolukavagi to Kiz Kulesi, from Marino Di Campo to Punta Di Fetovaia, in the Primero Maratone Riviera Ligure in Alassio, Lake Zürich, around the Isola Di Capri, from Naxos to Paros (Aliki) in the Cyclades, Folkestone Challenge, 3 Islands Swim in the Gulf of Naples, around Capri, around Procida, from Ventotene to Forio D’Ischia, Aquatic Tomidi Channel Relay from England to France, the Audrey Scott Commemorative Men’s Channel Relay, from Delos to Paros in the Aegean Sea, and across Lake Erie from Port Colborne in Canada to Sturgeon Point in the USA.
In the book, Dr. Stockdale describes, “How, through extreme sporting endeavor and dedication, we can further fulfill our lives, transcend our apparent physical and mental limitations, and realize our inherent ability to achieve the ‘impossible dream’. The sporting narrative is set amidst the universal and inevitable peaks and troughs of daily life and candidly refers to my personal regrets and my redemption after meeting Margaret, now his beloved wife and the Hero (ref. ‘Leander and Hero’) of the title. Margaret’s courageous story recounts the diagnosis and treatment of her breast cancer at the age of 38 and her exceptional sporting achievements that began just eighteen months after her initial diagnosis.”
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